Daley, Paul: The Armenians and the Warlpiri: two genocides that sparked a pilgrimage to the outback

Paul Daley

The Armenians and the Warlpiri: two genocides that sparked a pilgrimage to the outback‘, Guardian Australia, 8 December 2016

Describes the journey of two Armenian priests into Warlpiri country. The visit was organised by Judith Crispin, who has much knowledge of the Armenian Genocide and brought the priests into contact with the descendants of Warlpiri, who were among Indigenous Australians persecuted during Central Australian history.

It occurred to me [says Crispin] that rather than just feeling sickened by my (Australian) government’s ongoing refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, or to dignify Aboriginal people with a complete account of past massacres, I might possibly facilitate a mutually supportive relationship between Armenians and Warlpiri …

After the service at Lajamanu, a mutual statement was hand-written and signed by the Armenian clerics and by the local pastor and Warlpiri elder, Jerry Jangala Patrick.

It reads: “Together we acknowledge the past massacres of Yapa people and other Australian Indigenous people and the genocide of Armenian people in 1915. We stand together today as brothers in solidarity.”

Daley notes official Australian reluctance (under Turkish pressure) to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, paralleled by reluctance to deal with what happened to Indigenous Australians at the hands of settlers and their police.

Paul Daley is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters. He has a chapter in The Honest History Book (forthcoming April 2017). The chapter is called ‘Our most important war: The legacy of frontier conflict’. The Honest History Book also includes chapters by Vicken Babkenian and Judith Crispin,  ’24 April 1915: Australia’s Armenian story over a century’, and Larissa Behrendt, ‘Settlement or invasion: The coloniser’s quandary’.

There is much more on the Honest History website on both the Armenian Genocide and Indigenous-settler relations. Use our search engine with the term ‘Armenian’ and look under our ‘First Peoples’ thumbnail.


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